SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

GAVI Alliance pledges $21 million to Nigeria, seeks to save one million lives

The GAVI Alliance recently pledged $21 million to Nigeria for the improvement of vaccine supply chains in the country as part of an initiative to save the lives of one million Nigerians by increasing access to immunizations.

The funds will be allocated to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency in Nigeria for the attainment of new equipment to store cold vaccines and methods of data collection. These elements are vital to the Nigerian government's Saving One Million Lives Initiative

The initiative, which was launched in 2012 by President Goodluck Jonathan, seeks to reduce mortality and save one million lives estimated to be lost without adequate access to vaccines by 2015.

"Nigeria is taking great strides to boost routine immunization and is committed to reaching a target of 80% by the end of this year," Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency Dr. Ado Mohammad said. "Through the NPHCDA and the supply chain improvement plan, which is implementation focused, quick wins are being implemented. Now with GAVI's support we can boost coverage and meet our target of saving a million lives by 2015. Strengthening health systems and improving data collection will ultimately lead to a virtuous cycle that will provide more accurate evaluations and better delivery."

The initiative will increase routine immunizations to 87 percent. Through the initiative, six million children will be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases including measles, pneumonia, tetanus, hepatitis and tuberculosis.

"We look forward to working with the GAVI secretariat and the government to ensure that this investment realizes the goal of increasing coverage and reducing mortality," UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria Jean Gough said. "More than 23 percent of child deaths can be prevented through immunization".